Boardman comeback stalls, skid grows to 3


By JOHN HARRIS

sports@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Three weeks after scoring one of the biggest wins in recent school history, the Boardman High School football team suffered another tough loss at Spartan Stadium.

Friday’s 21-6 setback to Massillon Perry, a game in which the Spartans trailed from start to finish, continued a recent trend of offensive struggles.

Instead of building momentum following an emotional comeback thriller against Cardinal Mooney, Boardman fell to 2-3 after winning its first two games.

”We haven’t won since, so to me that’s a letdown,” Boardman coach Joe Ignazio said. “The biggest thing right now is we’re not learning from our mistakes and it’s costing us football games.”

The Spartans ended a streak of six consecutive scoreless quarters on Mike O’Horo’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Travis Koontz late in the third quarter, and appeared in position to stage a comeback in front of their home fans.

After holding Perry on downs, the Spartans gained possession to open the fourth quarter trailing 14-6.

However, a promising drive ended when O’Horo was sacked for a 13-yard loss on third down. Following a punt, Perry took over at the Boardman 40 with 7:41 remaining.

Given another chance to score, O’Horo hit Koontz, a dangerous 6-foot-5 receiver on the radar of several major college programs, for a short gain. Koontz fumbled upon impact and Perry recovered at the Boardman 14. It was one of three Boardman turnovers.

Perry’s Jarrett Mercier tallied his third touchdown of the game for the insurance score with 2:29 to play.

“Our kids are playing tough, they’re fighting. We’ve just got to eliminate shooting ourselves in the foot,” Ignazio said.

Late in the first half, Boardman senior defensive back Gaven Strines was ejected following a pileup around the goal line after a Perry fumble.

Perry (3-2) recovered and Mercier’s 1-yard touchdown run made it 14-0 at halftime.

“They’ve got to learn to control their emotions and play within the game and we didn’t do a very good job of that,” Ignazio said. “We had a kid get kicked out of the game. The referee claimed that our kid punched a guy from Perry. I didn’t get much of a description, but that’s what they explained to me on the sideline.”

The Spartans played better in the second half, opening up their offense with short passes that exposed Perry’s defense, but Ignazio said it shouldn’t take one of their players being kicked out of the game to fire up the team.

Perry received the opening kickoff, scored a touchdown on the opening drive, and never trailed after taking a 7-0 lead.

“We’re starting way too slow,” Ignazio said. “Our guys are waiting for something like that to get a fire in their belly instead of coming out that way. It puts us behind the eight-ball.”

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